Keeping the floors of your home clean when you have a dog or two is challenging. It’s even more difficult to determine what products you can use that will get the dirt off the floor efficiently, without posing a risk to your pet.
The majority of household detergents are safe for use around dogs, according to the ASPCA’s website. The secret is to check the list of ingredients and the instructions for use, and follow these to the letter. If the package directs you to keep the products out of reach of children and animals, you can expect it to be harmful. You can buy products that are specified as being safe for animals, however, such as Dawn liquid dishwasher, which you can use effectively for washing floors made of hard or laminated wood, vinyl, tile, marble, slate or ceramic.
A small quantity of bleach added to your washing water helps to get the floor clean and to kill germs. Provided you rinse the floor afterwards, the bleach is unlikely to be harmful to your dog. Bleach is used to purify drinking water in cases of contamination and is safe to use around dogs, although they may not like the smell.
A solution of vinegar and water makes an effective floor cleaner. Vinyl and linoleum floors, in particular, benefit from cleaning with a mixture of 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to each gallon of water. Alternatively, combine 3 drops of commercial dishwashing liquid with 1/3 cup each of vinegar, alcohol and water. Remove stubborn stains from linoleum by applying full-strength white vinegar and leaving it for 10 to 15 minutes. Wipe it off and rinse well to remove all traces of the vinegar.
You can use a variety of household products to clean floors without harming your dogs. Baking soda, toothpaste, baby oil and petroleum jelly will remove scuff marks from flooring, according to the book “Joey Green's Cleaning Magic: 2,336 Ingenious Cleanups Using Brand-Name Products.” Baking soda is particularly effective for removing the odors left behind after your dog accidentally soils in the house.
Coarse salt has been used for centuries for cleaning and disinfecting homes. Add a tablespoon of salt to a bucket of water for an effective floor cleaning solution. Rub stains with a hard sponge or brush and a handful of coarse salt grains. The abrasive qualities of the salt will scrub the stains off the floor, but could damage the floor surface if you rub too fiercely.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.